- An act of atonement for a sin or wrongdoing.
- 1870, James Anthony Froude, chapter IV, in History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, volume I:
- Under this plea, felons of the worst kind might claim, till this time, to be taken out of the hands of the law judges, and to be tried at the bishops’ tribunals; and at these tribunals, such a monstrous solecism had Catholicism become, the payment of money was ever welcomed as the ready expiation of crime.
- 1935, T. S. Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral:
- And see far off below you, where the gulf is fixed, / Your persecutors, in timeless torment, / Parched passion, beyond expiation.
- (obsolete) The act of expiating or stripping off.
an act of atonement
expiation f (plural expiations)